Title – Color out of Space (2019)
Director – Richard Stanley (Dust Devil)
Cast – Nicolas Cage, Joely Richardson, Madeleine Arthur, Elliot Knight, Tommy Chong
Plot – Living on remote farmland, the lives of married couple Nathan (Cage) and Theresa (Richardson) and their children are violently uprooted after a mysterious meteorite crashes in their property.
“We’re living the dream”
Review by Eddie on 13/02/2020
Adapting H.P Lovecraft stories both long and short has never proven too be an easy task for filmmakers, with many unable to conjure up the same mystic, horror and intrigue that the famed horror author managed to do with the written word.
Proving once more that this is indeed the case is director Richard Stanley, who returns to narrative film-making for this first time in over 20 years after his attempt to bring The Island of Dr. Moreau to the big screen saw him fired mid-project, in a colorful and bizarre exercise in turning Lovecraft’s short story of the same name into a Nicolas Cage starring horror.
Now I must admit, I must put my hand up and fully embrace the fact that I don’t see how on earth Color Out of Space has been met with a rather positive critical response, as Stanley’s boring, unlikable and cheapo effort see’s the goodness of Lovecraft washed away in an extended run-time that loses sight of what could’ve made it great very early on.
Built around a Cage performance as Llama loving father Nathan Gardner that never gets the crazy eyed wonder into full Cage-Mode, Space really does take its time to get going as the Gardner family find their secluded farm living life interrupted by a pink meteorite, strange cooking mishaps, Tommy Chong cameos and of all things Llama milking, as Stanley looks to cover up a low-budget with tension building and a rainbow tinted palette that fails to get the recipe for a good time into a solid package.
There’s brief snippets of a great film here, some visceral violence and some nasty looking creature practical effects will please genre hounds but all the creative aspects of the film mean little with a daft script, boring performances and a forgettable ending all holding things back.
Stanley has spoken already of his desire to return to the world of Lovecraft once more but on the back of this effort you suspect he has his work cut out for him, as a film with this crazy of an idea and with the industries most unhinged leading man front and centre too still feel like a chore to sit through makes you wonder what type of luck he will have in future endeavors in an attempt to give us all a truly great Lovecraft feature.
Final Say –
Don’t believe the hype, Color Out of Space may live up to its title in a visual sense but most elements of this student quality affair fail to do much good as wasted potential goes begging throughout.
1 hobby Llama out of 5
I liked it a lot more than I expected (read just one review of it). It made me think of Annihilation and the 2019 Pet Sematary. Nicolas Cage was oddly perfect for the role. I’m still waiting for a good Cthulhu cinematic adaptation…or even a cutesy one where Baby Cthulhu and Hello Kitty go on a murderous rampage.
Annihilation is probably the best Lovecraft adaptation without even being one ha.
Try In the Mouth of Madness by John Carpenter. Probably the best version of a Lovecraft-inspired story done right. The Thing is also somewhat Lovecraftian.
As far as actual Lovecraft adaptations go, Dagon (2001), From Beyond (1986), Reanimator (1985; though more for the entertainment than the creep factor), and probably the most accurate and faithful adaptation done yet, Call of Cthulhu (2005), are all worth a watch.
Thanks for the recommendations! As a big Carpenter fan I must finally get to Madness!
In The Mouth of Madness is great.
Working on a review this week, but I somehow agree with your points but also come to a very different score. Nic Cage was miscast, but he somehow delivered some levity to the film. The film kind of skimmed the line of art-house and shlock like the film Mandy but I thought it hit enough of the beats of the original story to enjoy. I do wish a filmmaker like Eggers would do a Lovecraft story because most adaptations miss the eldritch horror.
Just couldn’t get into this one man, even though at times I thought I was going to love it. And totally agree, someone like Eggers or Ari Aster doing Lovevraft would be a match made in heaven.